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* TheDogBiteBack: After the police are called, the first thing Jenny does is run to the cops and tell them "Get me out of here and I'll tell you everything". The next shot? ''She tells the court everything Gertrude did to her sister''.

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* TheDogBiteBack: TheDogBitesBack: After the police are called, the first thing Jenny does is run to the cops and tell them "Get me out of here and I'll tell you everything". The next shot? ''She tells the court everything Gertrude did to her sister''.

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* TheDogBiteBack: After the police are called, the first thing Jenny does is run to the cops and tell them "Get me out of here and I'll tell you everything". The next shot? ''She tells the court everything Gertrude did to her sister''.

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* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler: Gertrude and her family are found guilty for their involvement in Sylvia's death, but Sylvia of course is dead and it's implied that her sister and parents will forever endure the trauma of what happened to her for years to come. One bright spot is Sylvia's ghost finding comfort at her parents's carvinal, the only place she felt safe.]]

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** The real-life Gertrude and Paula also showed no remorse for their crimes, with Paula becoming a real-life case of KarmaHoudiniWarranty when she went on to live a normal life under a new name...until 2012, when she was fired from her job as a school counselor's aide when the school found out her true identity.


* HistoricalVillainDowngrade: What Gertrude did to Sylvia in real life was even worse than what the movie shows. The same applies to Paula, whose portrayal in the film implies that she had some sympathy for Sylvia. The RealLife Paula felt the same about torturing Sylvia as her mother did.



* HistoricalVillainDowngrade: What Gertrude did to Sylvia in real life was even worse than what the movie shows. The same applies to Paula, whose portrayal in the film implies that she had some sympathy for Sylvia. The RealLife Paula felt the same about torturing Sylvia as her mother did.


Creator/EllenPage and Catherine Keener star in this dramatization of the real-life story of Sylvia Likens and Gertrude Baniszewski. Sylvia and her sister are left for an extended stay at the home of Gertrude and her six children. Times are tough and the increasingly unstable Baniszewski snaps and begins taking out her anger on Sylvia, repeatedly abusing and eventually torturing her. Things get worse when her kids and others from the neighborhood join in.

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Creator/EllenPage and Catherine Keener star in this dramatization of the real-life story of Sylvia Likens and Gertrude Baniszewski. Sylvia and her sister are left for an extended stay at the home of Gertrude and her six children.

Times are tough and the increasingly unstable Baniszewski snaps and begins taking out her anger on Sylvia, repeatedly abusing and eventually torturing her. Things get worse when her kids and others from the neighborhood join in.


* HopeSpot: Sylvia's DyingDream of escaping and reuniting with her parents. You know it won't last, but still.
** There's also a point where, after spending all of her time torturing Sylvia, Gertrude gently washes her and is able to interact with her calmly, indicating that she's got a grip again. She loses it as soon as the local church's priest speaks to her about suspicions that Paula is pregnant, causing her to start lashing out at Sylvia again.

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* HopeSpot: HopeSpot:
**
Sylvia's DyingDream of escaping and reuniting with her parents. You know it won't last, but still.
** There's also a point where, after spending all of her time torturing Sylvia, Gertrude gently washes her and is able to interact with her calmly, indicating that she's got a grip again. She loses it as soon as the local church's priest speaks to her about suspicions that Paula is pregnant, causing her to start lashing out at Sylvia again.


* ColdBloodedTorture

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* ColdBloodedTortureColdBloodedTorture: Poor Sylvia is forced to endure this and eventually dies due to the horrific abuse she suffered.



* [[spoiler: MyGodWhatHaveIDone: Maybe. By the end, when Gertrude is sentenced, her kids cry at the fact of their actions ''and'' the loss of their mother. When Gertrude is in prison and sees the spirit of Sylvia, she begins to tear up and tries to mouth the words "I'm sorry", before Sylvia fades away]].

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* [[spoiler: MyGodWhatHaveIDone: [[spoiler: Maybe. By the end, when Gertrude is sentenced, her kids cry at the fact of their actions ''and'' the loss of their mother. When Gertrude is in prison and sees the spirit of Sylvia, she begins to tear up and tries to mouth the words "I'm sorry", before Sylvia fades away]].

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* DolledUpInstallment: ''The Afflicted'', a later true crime film with a similar premise, has the alternate title of ''"Another American Crime"''.


* BasedOnATrueStory
* BlatantLies : Gertrude's story about Sylvia going to juvie.

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* BasedOnATrueStory
BasedOnATrueStory: Based on the murder of Sylvia Likens, a.k.a. "The Illinois Torture Murder." All dialogue from the courtroom scenes are drawn directly from the court transcripts.
* BlatantLies : BlatantLies: Gertrude's story about Sylvia going to juvie.



* MayDecemberRomance : Gertrude and Andy. Keener was 48 at the time of filming, and Creator/JamesFranco was 29.

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* MayDecemberRomance : Gertrude and Andy. Keener was 48 at the time of filming, and Creator/JamesFranco was 29. A case of RealLifeWritesThePlot, as the real "Andy" was 18 to Gertrude's 34 when they began dating.



* WouldHurtAChild

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* WouldHurtAChildWouldHurtAChild: Gertrude Baniszewski.

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* [[spoiler: MyGodWhatHaveIDone: Maybe. By the end, when Gertrude is sentenced, her kids cry at the fact of their actions ''and'' the loss of their mother. When Gertrude is in prison and sees the spirit of Sylvia, she begins to tear up and tries to mouth the words "I'm sorry", before Sylvia fades away]].


* DestroyTheAbusiveHome: The ultimate fate of the Baniszewski home. While plans were made to restore the house as a shelter for abused girls, funding fell through, with many in the community blaming lack of donations on the location being too heavily overshadowed by the murder. Two years after the film's release and almost forty-five years after Sylvia's murder, the house was demolished.



* MamaBear : Most of the abuse starts when Paula complains to Gertrude about Sylvia "spreading lies."

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* MamaBear : MamaBear: Most of the abuse starts when Paula complains to Gertrude about Sylvia "spreading lies."



* TheSixties: A rather darker side thereof--less free love and more secrecy and lack of child protective services.



* SocialServicesDoesNotExist: Very nearly literally. Many laws regarding mandatory reporting of suspected abuse came into being directly because of this case.



* TheSixties: A rather darker side thereof--less free love and more secrecy and lack of child protective services.

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* PosthumousNarration : Sylvia is telling her own story.

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* BlatantLies : Gertrude's story about Sylvia going to juvie.

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* MamaBear : Most of the abuse starts when Paula complains to Gertrude about Sylvia "spreading lies."

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